SESSION EIGHT – Still waters
By: Sandra – Twitter
Mistborne Souls is a weekly recap of an ongoing game set in the land of Barovia. While Curse of Strahd lies at its core, the world of Mistborne Souls is a variation of the adventure of my own making.
CONTENT WARNINGS: Endangered child, Drowning.
Breakfast at the Blue Water Inn is solemn. Lucian and Izi appear tired and Wynne keeps picking at her food. No one is doing much talking until Lucian mentions having had bad dreams since he came to Barovia. A couple of the others say that they have had them too, but they don’t want to share details. When Lucian suggests that the dreams might be an effect of Barovia, Artem looks at him curiously and asks if they don’t have dreams where Lucian comes from.
After making sure that no one is listening in on their conversation Artem says that she wants to go see the Burgomaster again to tell him about the vampire spawn in the coffin maker’s shop. Wynne asks what will happen to Henrik if they do and Izi seems insistent on that he will have deserved whatever judgement coming to him. Artem says that she believes that most of them made a bad impression on the Baron the previous day. When Asha tells her that she shouldn’t be going alone either way, Artem asks Asha to go with her. Asha is clearly surprised that Artem would want her to come along, but agrees.
Lucian says that he wishes to go investigate the disappearance of Bluto, who he had spoken to Danika about the previous night. Izi says she will help him do that, and Wynne pipes up to say that she would come, but she doesn’t want to be in the way. The others reassure her that she isn’t, and she also promises Artem not to turn into a cat in the street again.
When the group part ways outside of the inn, Artem notices a lone individual dressed for travel, leaning against the wall. When they leave the inn the traveller notices them as well. Artem spots a flash of bright turquoise fabric underneath the drab coat. Intrigued, she tells Asha that she wants to follow the person. They head east through the town and are soon noticed by what Artem believes to be a disguised Vistana. After following them for a while they see them head out through the eastern gates. Artem decides that it may be unwise to follow them out of town so they head back to the Burgomaster’s mansion.
At the mansion they are met by the same maid as the previous day and when they express great urgency she sees them up to meet with the Burgomaster in the library upstairs. The amount of books in this space is impressive, stunning even Artem for a moment. They apologize for the inconvenience of calling upon the Baron again so soon after their first visit and so soon before the festival. When they tell him the full story of the coffin maker and his bad deal with the vampire spawn, the Baron listens intently. He appears troubled by this information and thanks the two for letting him know. He wants his guard to act on the situation immediately and asks if his guests would mind if he walked them downstairs to meet his wife. They accept and are led to the downstairs parlor where they meet with the Baroness Lydia Petrovna. The Baroness recognizes Artem’s name instantly and greets her warmly. They sit down with drinks and tea, and the Baroness asks about Artem’s travels and how she met Asha. When Artem mentions that she is interested in the Baron’s library, the Baroness invites both her and Asha to dinner after the festival. They accept the invitation, and leave the Baroness to her festival preparations.
In the north part of town Lucian, Wynne and Izi find the small house that Danika had told them is Bluto’s home. Lucian knocks on the door but gets no reply and tries the neighbours instead. They get some indication from a woman named Svetlana, who tells them that she has not seen Bluto for a while but assumes that he is either fishing or passed out. The second neighbour they try is a cranky old lady who does not approve of them disturbing her and who refuses to give any information at all.
In case Bluto is, in fact, asleep, Lucian goes back to the man’s door and knocks on it for a long while to no avail. Izi suggests they go to the lake and Lucian agrees to this given that they go get the others first.
Back at the inn, the bar is manned by Danika’s husband Urwin who serves them lunch. After Artem mentions the Vistana from that morning, Lucian asks her what the Vistani might want with keeping track of them. Artem says that most Vistani are not to be trusted and that many of them even work for the devil count. They each share information they have uncovered. Realizing that they have no more pressing matters at the time, Lucian suggests that they go to the lake that afternoon. The idea of getting out of the city walls makes both Wynne and Izi perk up.
The Barovian sky darkens above the group as they head north and through the gate toward the lake. They walk for a while through the quiet Svalich Woods before reaching Lake Zarovich. The dark mirror surface reflects the afternoon sky and high mountains rise above the treeline on the other shore.
Out on the lake, the group notice a figure in a boat. They try and call attention to themselves with a whistle and a beckoning but the figure keeps rowing away from them. A soft cry answers Artem’s whistle. It sounds almost like a bird call but Izi recognizes it as human. Lucian tries to find a spot where he can get a better vantage point and when he does, he sees something moving at the bottom of the boat. He asks Wynne and Izi if either of them have any way to get them out into the water, Izi says no, but Wynne says that they could borrow a boat. Lucian looks at her quizzically and Wynne points to the shore near where they exited the forest, where three boats are fastened.
As he is convinced that something is strange about the situation, Lucian hurries off toward the boats, followed closely by Asha, Wynne and Izi. Realizing that she has little choice Artem lets out a sigh before she gets into the boat with them.
Asha pushes the boat away from the shore and takes up rowing them out on the lake. When they get closer, the man in the boat picks up a bundle that has been lying in front of him. He struggles greatly with it, as if it’s fighting back, before he manages to tip it into the water. Lucian gets close enough to jump into the other boat. He tries to get something out of the man who just tells him that “It is done.”
Meanwhile, Asha gets out of her armour and jumps into the water after the bundle. Seeing this, Lucian steadies some rope to his boat to help her out when she re-emerges. Several long, still moments pass before Asha finally breaks surface, gasping for air and trying to get the bundle up onto the boat, Lucian helps her, and as he unwraps it he finds an unconscious girl. Asha is shivering when she climbs out of the water but Lucian tells her that he needs her to help the girl. He speaks calmly to her, telling her that she knows what to do. Asha lays the girl in her lap and begins working to get water out of her lungs. To get her warm, Lucian heals the girl once she is conscious and Wynne gives her furs to wrap up in.
Lucian sits down opposite the man he assumes is Bluto, who still appears to be very lost in thought. Bluto explains after some urging that he was attempting to make a sacrifice to the lake, to the gods, for good luck. Lucian says that this is a person and that it would have been murder if they hadn’t stopped it in time. Bluto replies that the girl is a Vistana, not a person. Lucian, seething with anger, replies that being from somewhere else doesn’t make you less of a person, but Bluto falls quie in response. After jumping back over to the other boat, Lucian sits in quiet for a while until Artem informs him that she can’t row a boat and that he will have to get them to shore. Asha takes charge of the second boat and the group make their way back to dry land.
Once they have secured the boats, Artem takes off her long coat and hands it to Asha who covers her wet clothes with it. Artem then picks up the little girl and starts carrying her south, in the direction of the town. Asha drags the now entirely apathetic Bluto alongside her without much struggle and the group share a quiet moment as they walk.
And that is where we ended this session.